When the United States and Puerto Rico should have been celebrating their deep runs in the World Baseball Classic, a day after the Americans took home the title with an 8-0 win, Adam Jones and Yadier Molina let their tempers flare over the festivities themselves.
Molina responded to Jones’ postgame criticism Thursday, demanding the Orioles center fielder apologize for calling Puerto Rico’s celebratory plans premature.
“Adam Jones … is talking about things he doesn’t know about,” Molina told ESPN during a parade honoring him and his teammates in San Juan. “He really has to get informed because he shouldn’t have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made.”
Jones scoffed at what he considered Puerto Rico’s red-carpet-style welcome following Wednesday night’s game, including championship T-shirts and a “caravan” through the streets of the capital city — even though they lost. Jones told MLB Network the pregame chatter surrounding Puerto Rico’s WBC exploits “didn’t sit well with us,” and inspired the Americans to put together such a dominant performance.
Molina argued Jones was judging the Puerto Ricans, both players and fans, without understanding the cultural significance attached to their undefeated run into the tournament final. Puerto Rico intended to celebrate its WBC showing whether it won or lost.
“He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people,” the Cardinals catcher said. “Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn’t know what this means to [our] people.
“That’s why I’m sending a message to [Jones], saying, ‘Look at this, right now you’re in spring training working out, and we’re with our people, with our silver medals. You’re in spring training and you’re working. … You have no idea how to celebrate your honors, you don’t know what it means.’”
Molina’s Cardinals visit Jones’ Orioles for an interleague series in Baltimore from June 16-18.
Puerto Rico’s success in the tournament swept across the island with fans showing their support by bleaching their hair in solidarity with the players.
“We have been able to unite our country with our blond hair,” shortstop Carlos Correa said of the ritual, which caught on as Puerto Rico continued to win. “That’s what we want as players — to unite our country, our people, and give them the best.”
By Hannah Withalm